What is the Purpose of a Wedding Garter?

Learn all about the wedding garter tradition and its meaning at The Garter Girl.

Are you thinking about a wedding garter or something to love from your wedding? Are you thinking about an heirloom that will be special, that will be meaningful, that you can pass down to your daughter? But, you aren't quite so sure about the whole wedding garter tradition?

what is purpose of a wedding garter

Maybe you've heard about the garter toss at a wedding reception, and you just aren't into that at all! And, you wonder: what is the purpose of a wedding garter anyway?

Well, you've come to the right blog post! I am here for you when it comes to your questions and concerns about the wedding garter – what it is, what it means and what is its purpose! 

What is the purpose of a wedding garter?

I get this question all the time being the custom garter designer that I am!

In this in wedding garter 101 blog series post, I'll do my best to answer the common question about the purpose of a wedding garter! (In this series, I go through any and all questions related to a garter, so if you are looking for more answers, be sure to check it out.)

Back to the question at hand. Besides just saying that garters are gorgeous and that's the purpose, I will do my best to answer the purpose of a garter for your wedding!

You Do You!

I think the purpose of a wedding garter is whatever the engaged and soon-to-be-married couple wants it to be. We are in a time of wedding planning and celebration where couples are going to great lengths to make their weddings more and more personal. They are focusing on the little – yet, ultra meaningful – wedding details that are only special to them. They are opting out of wedding tradition for the sake of tradition, and participating only in the events that are meaningful to them.

It is all about the phrase, "you do you" in weddings these day. Couples are doing what they want on their terms and making no apologies for it! 

Engaged couples aren't opting out of wedding traditions all together, they are just not doing the ones that aren't meaningful to them. And, when they do participate in a tradition, they are doing in their own way, whatever that means to them.

Family Heirlooms

More and more engaged couples today are really interested in heirlooms and creating their own family memories. They are loving their heritage and want to celebrate their own history, but want to modernize traditions and make them their own.

Maybe their parents did a tradition at their wedding, like smash the wedding cake in each other's face, and they have a special picture of this moment that they have seen their whole lives, and want they want to take part in the wedding cake smashing and recreate that moment, because it is meaningful to them.

The heritage trend and focus on meaning is great! I'm so happy to see engaged couples focus on the things – and traditions – that are important to them and their life together!

But, what does it all mean?

So, this still leaves the question: what is the purpose of the wedding garter? Why do brides want to have a garter heirloom for their wedding and how are they adapting the oldest wedding tradition and making it their own?

Over the past few years of designing wedding garters, here are the top reasons that couples have given me for wanting to participate in the wedding garter tradition. All of these reasons have come from real brides who have shared with me why they want to have a special wedding garter heirloom from their big day.

The History

The wedding garter is the oldest wedding tradition. The idea of participating is this historic tradition is really appealing to engaged couples. (Read more about the history of the wedding garter here.)

Maybe they have a wedding garter in their family that was passed down to them and so taking part in the garter tradition is something they are really looking forward to on their wedding day. Or, maybe they just love history and want to do "all the wedding things," because that's what they love!

The Tradition

Many engaged couples just love wedding traditions. They are really excited to take part in all that goes into a wedding and to have their turn to celebrate their love!

Many brides decide to have a wedding garter as a special heirloom from their big day, just because they love the tradition behind it.

The Appeal

Many brides want to wear a garter, because because it makes them feel beautiful on their wedding day. Just like the gorgeous dress and their veil, their garter is that final piece that makes them feel like a bride!

There is something special about a garter and they want to feel like "a bride"! With the perfect fitting wedding dress, their veil and the pretty shoes, it is only fitting that a stylish wedding garter would help brides to complete their wedding day look and feel like their most beautiful self.

what is the purpose of wedding garter - beautiful bride getting ready before her wedding

Photo credit: RaeTay Photography

The Surprise

The wedding garter is hidden under the bridal attire, so this is a perfect opportunity for the bride to surprise her partner with a little something special, maybe something unexpected!

Many brides are excited to pick out a little something for their fiance' that will be meaningful and make them smile! Oftentimes, brides choose a garter design that they know their partner will like or that will also be meaningful to them, maybe it designed around an inside story between the two them or in colors that are special them.

Many brides get a wedding garter to surprise their partner and to be something special that they can save forever from their wedding day!

The Keepsake

A wedding garter is small and the perfect heirloom to save! Unlike the top tier of a wedding cake, a garter is simple and it is easy to save. Many brides want to save their wedding garter so that they can always remember how special and amazing they felt on their wedding day. Brides know that it is memento that they will will be able to keep forever.

Brides are really interested in heirlooms and creating their own family memories surrounding their wedding, and the garter is the perfect heirloom to remember their wedding day. A garter is something small that they can save and pass onto future generations on their family or save for their daughter some day!

The heirloom aspect of a garter is the main reason why we included a keepsake bag with each garter order! Brides use their cotton bag to save and protect their garter after the wedding, so that it stays protected as an heirloom to love forever.

The Sentiment

Sometimes brides wear a wedding garter for sentimental reasons, as a way to infuse something special and meaningful into their own wedding day. Maybe there is a wedding garter that was passed throughout their family and they are honored to be the next bride to wear it. Or, the bride has their wedding garter made from some fabric that has personal meaning, like the lace from her mother's wedding dress or the tulle from her grandmother's veil.

Check out the family heirloom garters that I've made!

Whatever the reason, many couples use the wedding garter as a chance to be sentimental on their wedding day. The garter is a chance to carry someone or something with you on your big day. 

I hand make many weddings garters from family heirloom wedding dresses. The bride or her mother will send me their vintage wedding dress or their veil and I use that material to make a garter. The brides doesn't want to wear her mother's wedding dress or her grandmother's veil, but she still wants to use the material and have it with her on her wedding day, so making a garter from the vintage materials is a great option! These are always the most special to make and it is such an honor to make these special wedding garters. Each wedding dress and veil is so unique, which makes the garter unique!

The Fun

Above all, the wedding garter is about having fun on your wedding day! It is about not taking the wedding day so seriously and instead just having a good time. Many couples pick a garter style or a color that matches their personality and wear it to help them enjoy the day.

By having a wedding garter that is not only fun, but is also an heirloom that they will have forever, they can always remember how amazing and special that the felt on their wedding day.


So, that was my list of reasons for the wedding garter!

Remember, you can shop for bluevintageclassic and modern garter heirlooms anytime in my garter shop or get in touch with me at info@thegartergirl.com for information on custom designing a garter just for you!

If you have any more garter questions, check out my garter 101 blog series or find all of my wedding planning advice here on my blog.